catsittingstill: (Default)
I have successfully glued on seat rail extensions to the backs of the seat rails.  They are a lighter color, but that will probably change somewhat over time.  The join, which is not particularly neat, will be mostly hidden by the caning of the seat, and removing about three inches of each front rail went better than I dared hope, though not perfectly.

I used an exacto knife to cut across the rail, and a chisel to pare back to the cut, repeatedly, until I was paring the last paper-thin shavings of wood off the dookieschmutz below.  In this process I slipped at one point, and gouged the fiberglass.  I will have a picture later, if it came out.

The gouge had to be repaired, but repairing fiberglass is pretty straightforward.  You sand it all off to the bare wood, cut a fiberglass patch that overlaps the remaining fiberglass by an inch all the way around, epoxy it down, sand the edges so they aren't bumpy anymore, put a second coat of epoxy on, and then to the varnish when the epoxy is cured.  Happily, it turns out that I don't have to wait for a full chemical cure with this epoxy-varnish combination; 24 hours seems to be good enough.

I also had to sand the dookieschmutz off the hull, which went better than I had dared hope.  I got pretty much all of it off.  The paring and sanding took about five hours, which was less than I'd feared.  Varnishing the sanded bits was straightforward enough, and I coated the seat rail extensions and the back thwart first with epoxy and then with two coats of varnish.

This morning I drilled the holes and screwed seat and back thwart in place.  I am very happy with how the back thwart came out; I think it has a much more graceful curve than the old one, and I think the way I carved the part that contacts the paddler's back will be much more comfortable than the plain roundover I used on the old one.  We shall see tomorrow morning, because Vonda will be coming at 7:30am to help me put the boats on the car so we can go paddling.

Wish me luck :-)
catsittingstill: (Default)
Folks may remember last fall I was disappointed to find I had put Constance's seat in the wrong place. With a paddler in the seat, she was nose-heavy, which made her harder to steer and meant she tended to "weathervane" or turn into the wind, which is sometimes a good thing, but sometimes not.

I solved the problem temporarily by filling a couple of two-liter bottles with water and putting them in the far stern of the boat. You'll recall I mentioned this in the post with the pictures of Launch Day.

Why algebra is useful. )

This means gluing on extensions to the rails the seat rests on, because they don't go that far behind the seat. It also means making a back thwart with considerably more curve to go almost three inches farther back than Constance's original back thwart. (The back thwart runs right behind the seat and the paddler leans back against it a little to support her lower back; if I don't move it back, the paddler will be bent like a very bent unhappy person. However the back thwart is screwed down to knees I epoxied into the boat, which would be a pain to remove in the time I have. Solution: move the *middle* of the back thwart three inches back; leave the ends where they are.  The boat is wide enough that I can get away with this.)

So I patterned and cut the new thwart yesterday. I fitted and shaped and sanded (and dampened and re-sanded with 120 grit and re-dampened and re-sanded with 220 grit) the thwart today, and I cut and shaped the seat rail extensions and cut the slots in them where the caning on the underside of the seat needs extra room. And just now I finally found the oomph to epoxy them in (let's hope they don't slip) and paint the back thwart with epoxy to seal the pores.

And tomorrow I shall cut the slots for the front cane, hopefully figure out some way to remove the extra four inches or so of seat rail that sticks out ahead of the seat in an unsightly way, drill the holes for seat and thwart installation and run a small patch test to see if I can varnish yet. Also there is some damage to the varnish on the gunwales where I slid her across the rack on the back porch, and I will fix that. Plus I need to think about carpeting or padding that rack when I have time or I will always be touching up the gunwales.

But today I got all the boat stuff done that I planned.  Not all the other stuff, mind you, but all the boat stuff.  Go me.
catsittingstill: (Default)
The one, the only...

Moxie's Launch Day With Pictures!

Lots of Pictures; You Have Been Warned )

We went out again this morning. Because, well, new canoe, weather okay--have you seen Panther Creek State Park yet? No? Oh, you'll like this.

And you know you want to find out what happened here. )

Tip Test

I am happy to report that Moxie is stable (automatically returns upright when you stop forcing her over) with her gunwale an inch under the water.  I had to move my center of gravity out over the water to make her go.

So, all in all, a lovely lovely weekend.  In spite of the fact that I forgot to give my wallet to Alice before I tipped the boat.  I caught it before it floated away or sank, anyway.  And looking back on it it would have been smart if I had brought a big fluffy towel to put on the seat before I drove home.  But still, lovely weekend.

catsittingstill: (Default)
Moxie is nearly done.

Varnish Coats
seat             2
thwarts         2
hull outside 2
hull inside   1

Yes, that's right.  One more coat of varnish on the inside and it will be time to take a deep breath and drill the holes to mount the seat.  Then I fasten the seat and thwarts in place with brass screws .  And then it's time to put her in the water and see how she handles.

Part of me would like to mark this moment with laurels and parades and choirs of flower-decked children and part of me would like to sneak quietly off and have it be a private moment, just Moxie and me. 

I started drawing the designs in February, and got the form built by the end of that month; in March I planked to the centerline and by the middle of April I had the whiskey plank in, and by the end of April had fiberglassed the outside, and by the end of May had fiberglassed the inside.  By the middle of June I had the gunwales made and on, and by the end of June the decks were made and in and I was starting on the seat. One week into July I had the seat constructed and painted with epoxy and the thwarts made and fitted and painted with epoxy, and I guess I'm a bit behind in canoe-posting because I got the seat varnished and the cane arrived and I caned it Wednesday and yesterday.   I also have the seat rails made and epoxied in and, as above, need one more coat of varnish on the inside of the boat before I'm ready to install the seat.

Which is great because Alice is visiting this weekend and hopefully we'll be able to take Moxie and Constance out canoeing.

I also spent some time yesterday cleaning the windblown leaves and spiderwebs out of Constance and Patience, and scrubbing them gently with a soft brush and some water with dishsoap in.  Because, you know, OMG I have a guest coming; I must mop the canoes.

I hope your week has gone as well as mine has.
catsittingstill: (Default)
I epoxied in the seat rails.  I also coated the outsides of the rails with epoxy so the varnish coats would build up faster.  Doing both of these in one operation didn't work out as well as I expected.  Yes, the bags of rice I used as weight were plastic bags, and did eventually come off the epoxied rails (epoxy doesn't stick to flexible plastic well.)  However the colored design on the bag ended up on the rails when the two parted company and I had to sand it off.  In the process I sanded off one of the subtle pencil marks that showed where the back of the seat would go.  This is not an insurmountable problem, but it is inconvenient.

Once the epoxy was mostly cured (enough that I was confident the seat rails wouldn't fall out)  I turned the boat upside down, and varnished the seat, the thwarts and the outside of the hull.  I pretended I did not have enough varnish and scraped and scrubbed it out as thin as I could, because this produced the best varnish job I have ever done when I did it on Constance.

Unfortunately my hands are now all over sticky and I don't dare touch my instruments until the varnish dries.  (Yes, I'm touching the keyboard.  No, I just don't love my keyboard the way I love my instruments.  That's just how it is.) 

I think I will need to practice *before* I varnish.

I suppose I could look at my music papers and translate chords to roman numerals and see if I can figure out what cadences I've been using and ways I might try to change things up in the future, though.

Varnish Coats:

Outside of Hull 1
Inside of Hull    0
Seat                 1
Thwarts            1
Gunwales        0

Canoe!

Jul. 6th, 2011 08:18 am
catsittingstill: (Default)
The seat is made, and painted with epoxy as of Sunday, so it has a few days to go before I can varnish and cane. Plus I have to call the cane place again and make sure the artificial cane really was ordered, or it won't come in time. I have cut the ends of the seat to length, and partially angled them so the seat will sit lower in the bottom of the boat.

I have cut and shaped and sanded the knees (a cabinet scraper works great for the last bit of shaping/sanding, by the way), drilled the holes and fastened them to the thwarts with temporary screws (with a piece of heavy plastic between) and epoxied the knees to the hull-and-underside-of-the-gunwales. (Which is why the heavy plastic, so the squeezeout doesn't fasten the thwarts permanently to the knees or the gunwales.)

I have finished chamfering the top and bottom of the outwales and chamfered (like rounding over but not really round--the corner is just eased by a little 45 degree flat) the top of one inwale, which I couldn't do until the thwarts were in because you want the chamfer to stop where the thwart meets the inwale.

I still need to chamfer the top of the other inwale (it is highly unlikely I will mess with the bottoms of the inwales--it would pretty much require turning the canoe upside down and crawling under there with a chisel and a headlamp to do twenty six odd feet of inwale on my knees and it just doesn't seem very worth it. I could turn the canoe 90 degrees (on its side, and bend over 26 feet of inwale, but---ow. If I'd *really* been planning ahead and knew exactly where the thwarts were going before I put the inwales in, I could have pre-chamfered the undersides before I epoxied them in the boat.

But really, it doesn't seem that important. I don't need perfection; I need a boat. By--two and a half weeks from now. Aaaagh!

Anyway once I'm done chamfering I sand with 220 grit (bought a whole new package because it fills up/wears out pretty fast) then tape up and paint the gunwales with epoxy. Maybe I'll get to that today.

I also need to make and fit the rails that will hold the seat ever so slightly off the bottom. I would get some suitable hardwood for them but Jeffries is closed for the Fourth of July week and won't reopen until Tuesday of next week. Everybody needs a vacation sometime and I hope they enjoy theirs and in the meantime, softwood will have to do. Structurally it worked fine in Constance, but it looks a bit funny. But I don't need perfection; I need a boat. By two and a half weeks from now. Aaaagh!

And next time I put thwarts in with knees, it would really be smarter not to shape the undersides of the thwarts until they're fastened to the knees. That way I could have the shapes flow into each other better. I don't know why I didn't think of that before, but there it is.

Big Day

Jul. 3rd, 2011 06:45 pm
catsittingstill: (Cherokee lake)
So I've been making good use, so far, of my Fourth of July weekend. Most of it has been spent on boat stuff. I made patterns for thwarts, cut them out (the bandsaw does a much nicer job of that than the jigsaw used to), shaped them (used the router--I am getting a little better at controling it, I think, but will still be picking shavings out of the light fixtures for a week) sanded them with progressively finer grits all the way to 220 grit (wiped them down with water just before the final sanding--boy, I picked out some pretty cherry).

Now I hadn't meant to cut things as fine as I did with the bandsaw, but it turned out that when I rough cut the ends I happened to get them just the right length and almost exactly the right shape for the spots where my calculations said they should go (Note to self; next time leave a bit more room!). And I was in the middle of congratulating myself when I remembered what happened with Constance. One of these days I'm going to fix Constance by moving her seat and back thwart about three inches farther back (maybe even before my Dad and brother visit), but it's a pain in the hind end.

So I elected to do a water test on Constance. [later edit]--I meant Moxie; thanks to Keris for the catch! [/later edit] My last faked up, wingnut clamped thward didn't work all that well (source of the trouble with Constance, in fact) so I came up with another way to do it: I sawed out little plywood "collars" for both ends of each thwart (the hard part was angling the cutout to accept the fact that the thwarts meet the gunwales at a slight angle, not perpendicularly) and then c-clamped the collars to the gunwales to hold the ends of the thwarts in place but allow slight adjustments. Then I played my Invoke Spouse card, which I try to save for special occasions so I'll have one when I really need it, but loading a canoe with four c-clamps on the gunwales on the car without hurting either canoe or car is the sort of thing for which one really needs two people.

So I Invoked Spouse and Kip and I took Moxie gently off to the put in and floated her. I had Kip get in, so I could look at the canoe and see if she floated level.
Pictures and neepery. )

I think this is going to be a great boat!  I can't wait to get her done!

Now I want to work on her, but I had to open both big doors on the woodshop, twice, once to get her in and once to get her out.  So it's 85 degrees in there (and more than 90 degrees outside) and I think I better wait until I have recovered a bit of my oomph.  I had two big glasses of limeade and I'm thirsty again.

And in other news, I was very pleased to hear that Peter's and my collaboration, Wise Hands (a song about ship building, I would point out), won the Contata Song Contest, despite Ozymandias's trying to steal the stage during Peter's performance.   I am sorry I could not be there to hear Peter perform it, but congratulations to him, and I shall sit and gloat a little over this success, on such a boat-y day.

catsittingstill: (Default)
So I was sending the minutes from the last LWV board meeting to members of the board, and I wrote an e-mail saying something like "I am attaching them as a .doc file; if you have any problems with the format please let me know and I'll work something out."

And then I went to send the e-mail and a little message pops up saying (roughly) "it looks like you intended to send an attachment--you wrote 'I am attaching...', but this mail has no attachments.  Send anyway?"

This let me hit cancel, and attach the file I was intending from the first to attach, thus preventing me from making a fool of myself yet again with that particular mistake.

Now *that* is smart programming.

In other news I have been making dookie schmutz and forcing it into cracks between the planks on my boat.  For quick, efficient forcing I have been using a syringe (even in this war-on-drugs day and age you can pick up several at a feed store without raising an eyebrow--domestic animals must be very patient about being injected by amateurs, I guess.) 

And I have discovered a new thing--vinegar!  No, vinegar is not new--but it was news to me that vinegar dissolves uncured epoxy, even when it's quite thick and gloppy and beginning to harden and full of sawdust.  The epoxy turns white and gets liquid--quite quickly too--and the sawdust makes everything opaque but is basically like sawdust suspended in water.  It certainly makes cleanup much easier.

Word has it, it also neutralizes whatever-it-is in the hardener that people react to like poison oak.  I think before I shower after sanding epoxy I may wipe my skin down with a washcloth dipped in vinegar.

I won't be able to work on the canoe this weekend (going to Atlanta to visit Alice) so I am trying to decide whether to do one last pass with the dookie schmutz tonight--thus committing myself to some sanding in the morning, because if I wait three days to sand it will be hard like a rock which is not a good idea next to soft white pine--or whether to put that off until Monday.

Update

Apr. 10th, 2011 08:37 am
catsittingstill: (Default)
I  didn't sleep very well last night.  As part of my spirit-lifting attempt Friday evening I bought Diet Mountain Dew as a special treat.  I didn't actually have any until yesterday morning but then I had quite a bit, and I think that's the reason I couldn't go to sleep until about three thirty this morning.  So if I seem less coherent than usual, that's why.

Bonus Canoe! )

As regards the album, I am working on a couple of new songs, at least one of which I will probably post pretty soon when the melody settles down.  It's just a bit of fluff, but hopefully a nice one.  I haven't been practicing as much as I should, though I have gotten in at least some practice every day.  I feel like I should be working on my mandolin chops more, but am not sure how to do it.  I still haven't come up with a harmony for Go Little Penske (I can feel the chorus, at least, calling for one) or Quetico (ditto) but part of that is I haven't been listening to the iPod as much while working on the boat so I will do that today.

I think pretty soon I'll have to pick a handful of songs (three might be a reasonable number) practice them up until I'm actually ready to record, and record them.  Because it would be nice to have some more tangible (if that's the word) progress than a fattening songbook.  Though the songbook is definitely fattening up nicely. 
catsittingstill: (Default)
I cut the centerline yesterday.   I need to put eleven and a smidge strips on the other side to be done; I figure if I can get two strips on today that will be a good start.  I pre-bent one strip before I put all the planks on the other side, which is good since that strip had a very complex combination of bends and twists.  I think the second strip will be simpler--I hope so, since it will be harder to bend it with the strips on the other side in the way.

However I promised to work at the clinic this morning, so we'll see what I can do in half a day.
catsittingstill: (Default)
Got five strips on the boat yesterday.  Two more (one and a smidge more but I don't have any easy way to produce a smidge of a strip) and I can cut the centerline so I may make a start on that today.

If I can find my gumption, which seems to have wandered off without me.  Maybe it's under another couple of cups of tea.  Maybe it's playing with the mimmoths.  Who have apparently hidden about two thirds of the handkerchiefs in the house, and it's hayfever season.

I'm also hoping I can get in a good practice today.  It's starting to feel like I may someday be able to play the ocarina part for Ballad of the Valkyries reliably, which is nice--it has taken me a lot longer to get even to this point than it would have with the mandolin, but I can sense a little bit of progress every day.  And I have a kind of jig worked out for MayDaye to be the part where May is dancing, and while I can't play it at speed yet I am making progress.  It's very hard to stretch that far on the octave mandolin but I can't change instruments in the middle of a song (not for performance anyway--it would be perfectly practical for recording.)  Actually, I suppose it would be bright to see if I think the chords would work on the regular mando because the jig would be so much easier that way.

You know, with all this practice, it would be a smart idea to see if I can persuade a con or two to let me do a concert.  Hmm.
catsittingstill: (Default)
Well, I spent about 9 hours on it yesterday and got four strips on the boat.  Part of that was I had a couple of areas where I had to secure the strips with clamps, and couldn't take the clamps off until the glue dried, thus couldn't add another strip for an hour or so.  However I did use some of that time productively, removing some of the blobs of hot glue from the outside of the strips nearer the gunwales, whose carpenters glue has long since dried.  That was an hour I *won't* need to spend on that work once I've put in the last strip.

The strips are still bending, but they don't twist nearly as much, which is making the work with the hot gun quicker.  Eight more strips, by my calculations, before I can cut the centerline.  I hope these will go a bit faster.  I *think* I am still on schedule but I am concerned about how long planking the second side of the football will take, because there the strips will need to be trimmed, one by one, to the correct length and angle to match the centerline, which will probably be a slow process.

Seal-marked strips... )

I'm trying to keep up on the album front but with the amount of time I'm spending on the boat, it's kind of hard.  One trick I have been trying is listening to recording the computer playing new songs and arrangements I want to try to see if I can learn them as I work.  Also Peter sent me a melody that he thought needed lyrics about adventure and sailing ships.  It turned out to have lyrics about boatbuilding--I'm sure that was a big surprise :-)  We are still working on it but once Peter gives me the okay I will post it here.

I haven't quit practicing or anything but it has been kind of lick-and-a-promise practices.

Also I sure wish I had known about this Songwriter-In-Residence program while they were still taking applications.  I will check back next September and see if they are going to do it again next year, I guess.

Got to run.  Boat is calling me.

catsittingstill: (Default)
The canoe is going slowly because I'm *almost* into the football, so this is where the strips have the most complicated bends and are requiring the most work with the heat gun, especially at the ends of the strips.

Because there is more rocker in the front I am going to turn the tricky corner from "end of the boat" to "bottom of the boat" at two different points in the planking process. 

I spent about six hours on it and got four strips on the boat.  Four more strips, max and I will be in the football.  And I have only about 28 strips to go, so even through I'm behind schedule for getting into the football, I think I may still be on schedule to have the boat fully planked.  Cutting the centerline will take some time, of course, and planking the second side, when I have to fit each end of the plank exactly to the centerline, may go much slower.  But I have twelve days left that I was planning to plank, so maybe it will be okay.

At any rate, Kip and I have been talking about planting two more fruit trees out front for ages, and it rained yesterday and the day before, was sunny today, and is supposed to rain tonight so I suggested we plant trees today.  About four in the afternoon we dug two holes, went out and bought two trees, a cherry tree and a plum tree.  We had a bit of a hard time getting them home in the car--we had to tie the door partly down and it skinned one side of one of the branches when it bounced, but hopefully the tree will recover.  We bought a sort of brick border for each tree, which may have been a mistake--it looks nice and matches the border we put around the peach tree last spring, but meant we had to dig the holes easily twice as wide as we had.  But we got both trees in, and their borders around them, and the excess dirt dumped in various holes in the yard.

The peach tree far and away outshines them, as it is covered with blossoms.  However last year it had only two brave little blossoms so I bet next year these trees will look really nice.

But right now I am so tired I can hardly see straight.  I only practiced a few things today and that may be all I'm going to do.  I want dinner, a hot bath, and bed.  And if dinner takes much longer I may settle for two out of three.

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